Chiropractic manual therapy reduces crying behavior in infants with colic, study findings show.
"We found a clinically significant effect of chiropractic manual therapy in this patient group, but, importantly, that this is evident despite whether or not parents know their child was treated," Joyce Miller (Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth, UK) and colleagues point out in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
"We can conclude that any reporting bias by the parent was not responsible for the observed effect of treatment in this study."
Basing clinically significant improvement on infants crying for 2 or fewer hours per day, the researchers found that infants receiving chiropractic manual therapy were eight times more likely to improve after 8 days of treatment than infants not receiving treatment, and 11.8 times more likely after 10 days.
The number needed to treat was just three infants, the team reports.
The odds for improvement in treated infants were similar between parents who knew their child was being treated and those who did not, at odds ratios of 0.5 and 0.7, respectively.
A total of 102 infants were included in the study, of whom 33 were randomly assigned to receive treatment with their parents' knowledge, 35 to receive treatment without their parents' knowledge, and 34 to receive no treatment without their parents' knowledge.
The average crying time before treatment was just over 5 hours per day. Following treatment, which consisted of chiropractic manual therapy to the spine, crying time by day 10 decreased by an average 51.2% and 44.4% in treated infants (with and without parents knowledge, respectively), compared with 18.6% in nontreated infants.
"Although the results were not always statistically significant, the trend was for the treated infants to show a greater reduction in crying than those in the nontreated group within 2 to 3 days," the researchers note.
"This suggests that any beneficial effect of treatment is apparent early on thus quickly reassuring anxious and distressed patients."
Indeed, they found that parents were more likely to leave care if no improvement was seen in the first week and if recovery was obtained in the first week.
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